Code of Fear

Code der Angst

26th TIDF: Greek Premiere

The fruit of long reflection and a personal quest for understanding, this essential documentary aims to highlight the discrimination suffered by gay people in Cameroon, where same-gender sexual orientation is considered a crime and is punishable by law, with a maximum sentence of six years in prison. In 2013, the young journalist Eric Lembembe was murdered in Cameroon. He was tortured and beaten to death because he was gay and had fought for gay rights. Shocked by this gruesome murder in his home country, filmmaker Appolain Siewe sets off for Cameroon to find out more about the situation of LGBTQI+ people there. He soon realizes that Lembembe’s murder is no isolated case. Same-gender sexual orientation is still a criminal offense in Cameroon, as it is in almost all African countries. Being gay is completely taboo and is considered an embarrassment for families. While making the film, Siewe examines his own homophobic upbringing and seeks contact with members of his family. Since living in Europe, his outlook has changed. For his father, on the other hand, making a film on the subject is enough for him to break off all contact. Why is homophobia so firmly anchored in Cameroon’s society? What role does colonization have to play in this? Siewe’s own experiences, moving encounters with activists who fight for tolerance in their country despite all the risks, and his conversations with Cameroonian scientists, sociologists, and human rights activists offer a comprehensive insight into society in Cameroon.

Screening Schedule

No physical screenings scheduled.

Direction: Appolain Siewe
Script: Appolain Siewe
Cinematography: Julia Weingarten, Robert Többe
Editing: Nicole Fischer
Sound: Andreas Mohnke, Hervé Guemeteu
Music: Árpád Bondy
Production: EinHeitFilm Produktion
Format: DCP
Color: Color
Production Country: Germany, Cameroon
Production Year: 2023
Duration: 84'
Contact: New Docs

Appolain Siewe


1998 The Dirty Trick (short)
2010 All-Go-Rhythm (short)
2012 Surviving as a Displaced Person
2012 FE’FE’E
2012 Kita & the World
2023 Code of Fear